14 days Lijiang-Lhasa-Ancient Tea Horse road Day to Day arrangements
Day01 fly to Chengdu, airport-hotel transfer, Wuhou Temple, Jinli Street
Arrive in Chengdu, capital of province Sichuan, the home town of Panda. Picked up by the local guide at airport and transferred to hotel.
Day02 early morning, hotel-Panda reserve-Airport, Lijiang Ancient Town Visit in the late afternoon
After early breakfasts in hotel, your guide and driver will pick you up at around 6:30 am, transfer to Northern Chengdu section to visit the Panda (grasp the opportunities to take photos of the young/old panda breeding, playing, etc. after quick lunch, we transfer to airport, fly to Lijiang, visit this Ancient Downtown of Lijiang. o/n in hotel
Day03 Lijiang Sightseeing
Today you'll visit the Black Dragon Pool Park and enjoy beautiful views of the 18,000' high Yulong Shan (Jade Dragon Mountain) reflected in the waters of the Black Dragon Pool. You will enjoy exploring the old town maze of Naxi houses. Lijiang is also the capital of the Naxi people, a small bt fascinating ethnic minority known for their matriarchal society, their pictographic language, and their distinctive music. They are believed to be descendants from the Qiang, a Tibetan tribe that once lived in the northwest mountains of Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai. Traditionally, Naxi women have managed trade and commerce, while men have been musicians, gardeners, and child-rearers, and today Naxi society is largely run along those lines. They are also the last people in China to play Song Dynasty tunes derived from Taoist scriptures and you will have the opportunity to attend a concert of traditional Naxi music, definitely a highlight of the day. Overnight at your 3-star hotel near the old town of Lijiang.
Detailed Itinerary: Today we will drive part way to zhongdian, and cycle 30KM to Zhongdian. We will visit the Gadan Songzanlin Monastery and have lunch in Zhongdian. In the afternoon, we will visit the old town of Zhongdian (which is very similar to Lijiang), and the largest prayer wheel in the world. Along the way, stop and visit the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest gorges in the world. Zhongdian is the capital of Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is located in the southernmost part of Kham, or East Tibet, traditional land of the tall, turbaned Khampa horsemen. Today, Zhongdian is principally a Tibetan township but has Han Chinese people as well as a smattering of Bai, Hui, and Naxi minorities. Historically, the town was a trading center between Tibet, Burma, and India. Mule caravans once made journeys to conduct commerce between the regions. One of the major trade items was "brick tea" from Yunnan, in demand by Tibetan nomads and farmers.
Day05 Zhongdian/Deqen-Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve
Detailed Itinerary: Drive to Deqen is simply the best way to view the great variety of landscape in the Great Rivers region. Decsending to the Yangtze Basin, stop at Benzilan for lunch and then continue ascending the scenic mountain, visiting the Ganden Dongzhulin Monastery along the way. The highest pass of Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve, at over 13,775’, could stand as an altitude test for those visiting the Himalayan mountains for the first time.
Day06Deqen- Yanjing (visit Mt. Meili)-Mangkang
Detailed Itinerary: Departing Deqin, we travel along the north of Mekong River valley into Tibet. Along the way, we may be able to see the peaks of Kawagebo mountain range on a good day. Mt. Meili (6,740 m/22,113 ft), which straddles the border of Yunnan and Tibet, is the highest peak in the province. Once into Tibet, our first stop will be in the town of Yanjing, which was once the main source of salt for half of the Kham Tibetan area, which ranged from northwestern Sichuan down into Yunnan. We will visit to the salt fields and visit the only one catholic church in Tibet. followed by a stop at the hot springs, where each of us could pick our own natural hot bath overlooking the Mekong. Certainly the best way to relax our body for the adventure ahead!
Detailed Itinerary: Today we cross two high passes in this section of the drive, one at around 3,900 m(12,795 ft), the other at 5,008 m(16,430 ft). Driving past local Tibetan houses scattered round the feet of snow-capped peaks, the expressions on innocent Tibetan girls would make you realize that you are one of the first foreign visitors to this isolated region.
Day08 Pasu-Ranwu-Pomi, Ngom Tso Lake
Detailed Itinerary: We will drive along the deep valleys of the Nu River (the Salween River), which is a long and tough journey, but our destination, the Ranwu Lake, a spectacularly crystal blue lake cupped by snow peaks.
Detailed Itinerary: Drive to Bomi and visit Tongmai, where some of the best Tibetan tea is made. You also visit a local tea factory and experience the comfortable, hospitable feeling of this area. Awaken to the birds singing and an unobstructed view of the majestic Nan Jiabawa peak. After a long 6-hour drive, you arrive in Bayi, the capital town of Linzhi Prefecture.
Day10 Bayi-Draksum Tso Lake-Gongbujiangda
Detailed Itinerary: The crystal clear water of Basong Lake will seem like an oasis to you (also known as Draksum-tso). Enjoy the wonderful views of the 20,000’ mountains that surround the lake. Some short hikes or a boat trips will be arranged. Afterwards, continue on to Gongbujiangda for your overnight.
Day11 Gongbujiangda-Ganden Monastery- Lhasa
Detailed Itinerary: After the long challenging overland trip you will understand why Tibetans regard the journey to Lhasa as one of the most sacred of pilgrimages. Some of them even sacrifice their lives on this pilgrim trip. Today on your drive to Lhasa, visit the Ganden Monastery, the first Gelugpa Monastery (built in 1409) that has remained the main seat of this Buddhist order ever since. From the monastery, there are wonderful views of the surrounding Kyichu Valley.
Day12 Lhasa Sightseeing
Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor street
Detailed Itinerary:The first day of sightseeing starts from Lhasa's cardinal landmark- Potala Palace, a structure of massive portions. Its towering image already appearing on various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an awe-inspiring moment. It takes at least a good 2-hour to visit those rooms, halls and chapels.
In the afternoon, we will drop a visit of the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Then we will visit Barkhor, the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet.
Day13 Lhasa Sightseeing
Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery
Detailed Itinerary: About 8km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good views of the whole Lhasa city and the distant mountains.
Drepung is one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous.
Day14 final Departure (Or we extend our tour by land to Nepal via Mt. Everest, or take train or flight back to China)
We will transfer your party to Lhasa New Wu Train Station, take the Qinghai-Tibet train back to Beijing or Shanghai
Some tips for this trip:
1. Do not be afraid of the AMS. This route starts from Chengdu of Sichuan basin, then heading west to higher altitude. Although there are several passes beyond 4000m, there will be no problem due to the short passing time.
2. The restaurants along the way can provide simple Chinese and Tibetan food, but you'd better bring some solid food.
3. The best travel season for this route is April, May, June, August, September, October till November. Avoiding taking this route in cold season of January and February (black icy road), and rainy season of July and August, landslide may occur during the rainy season.
4. The driving hour will be long for this tour, and most of visiting will be stay in the vehicle.
5. Better do not go outside of the hotel in the night.
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